11 years ago today, I wrote about feeling alone, solitude and being on my own (‘Think-Feel-Do, Clarity & Solitude’), but I wasn’t able to put my finger on what exactly was going on. Recently I read a piece from the book ‘Hammer on the Rock‘ (Rajneesh, 1976) in which the author explains that in order to truly experience love, one must be alone. Not lonely. Alone.
Being lonely creates a need and so we find ourselves becoming dependent on other people. In a close relationship we label our dependence ‘love’ and say things like ‘You complete me’, ‘I’m lost without you’ and ‘I love you so much, it hurts’. We may find these words romantic but the truth is they convey a lack of something; a deficiency which, in turn, is met by the presence of the other person in the relationship. The thing is, as Rajneesh writes, love has nothing to do with a lack of anything. It is about abundance. When we can be alone with ourselves and we do not need anyone else, then we can love like we have never loved before.
Two of my goals in 2000 were to become independent and to break the cycle of relationships which had, ultimately, been more about being looked after than anything else. Up until that time I had spent the best part of 15 years in various relationships, none of which lasted any longer than two years. Of course, the common element in all of them was myself and I couldn’t expect to have any better relationship unless I changed. Once I saw this, I spent five years on my own. At first it was difficult and required a lot of discipline, but for the most part it was liberating, fulfilling and enjoyable.
For the last three years I have been in the best relationship I have ever known. Moreover, it is better than I ever imagined a relationship could be. Sometimes I say to her ‘I love you so much, it doesn’t hurt’.